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On 7 May 1945, Grand Admiral Donitz, named in Hitler's will as head of state, authorised the unconditional surrender of all German forces to the Allies on the following day. World War II in Europe was at an end. But many of the German people would continue to endure hardships, as both the country and the capital were to be divided between France, the UK and the USA in the west and the USSR in the east. East and West Germany, and East and West Berlin, would remain divided until 1989. By October 1990, however, the two countries were reunited, and the Berlin Reichstag was once again the seat of government. Here, politicians would put East and West back together again, marrying a totalitarian, atheist, communist system with a democratic, Christian, capitalist one. How did this marriage affect the everyday life of ordinary Germans? How did combining two telephone systems, two postal services, hospitals, farm land, property, industry, railways and roads work? How were women's rights, welfare, pensions, trades unions, arts, rents, and housing affected? There had been no warning of this marriage and no preparation for it - and no country had ever tried putting two completely opposite systems together before. This is the story of what happened, in the words of the people it happened to - the people's story of an incredible unification.
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